EXPLAINING THE NATURE OF THIS WORK.
MY opinions on the general principles of Landscape Gardening have been diffused in separate manuscript volumes, as opportunities occurred of elucidating them in the course of my practice; and I have often indulged the hope of collecting and arranging these scattered opinions, at some future period of my life, when I should retire from the more active employment of my profession: but that which is long delayed, is not, therefore, better executed; and the task which is deferred to declining years, is frequently deferred for ever; or, at best, performed with languor and indifference. This consideration, added to the possibility of being anticipated by a partial publication of my numerous manuscripts, not always in the possession of those by whom I have the honour to be consulted, induced me to print the following pages, with less methodical arrangement than I originally intended. I once thought it would be possible to form a complete system of Landscape Gardening, classed under certain general rules, to which this art is as much subject as Architecture, Music, or any other of the polite Arts: but, though daily experience convinced me that such rules do actually exist, yet I have found so much variety in their application, and so much difficulty in selecting proper examples, without greatly increasing the number of expensive plates, that I have preferred this mode of publishing a volume of HINTS and SKETCHES; being detached fragments, collected from my different works. It never was my intention to publish the whole of any one Red Book; nor to multiply my examples, by referring to a number of different books, when a single engraving would answer the purpose: I have, therefore, availed myself of the honour conferred upon me by his Grace the Duke of Portland, in permitting me to use the Red Book of Welbeck as the ground-work of the present volume; though I shall, occasionally, refer to other places, in order to increase the number of examples, without augmenting the number and expense of plates. Thus an opportunity may sometimes occur of comparing my observations with the subjects themselves, or with the original drawings in different libraries.
It will, perhaps, be expected that, in this advertisement, I should give some account of the sequel of this Work, or the number of volumes to which it may be extended; but, from the multitude of my private engagements, I have found so much trouble and difficulty in preparing this volume for the press, that I dare not suggest the period, if ever it should arrive, when I shall produce another.